Andrey Tsyganov presented books about pro- and anticompetitive regional practices
The “Black and White Books” for 2016 described the best and the worst examples of the impact of the work of the authorities of the subjects of the Russian Federation and local self-government bodies upon competition in the past year.
The objective of the Books is to prevent violations of the antimonopoly law and disseminate the best practices. These are kind of guidelines for the regional authorities. “On the one hand, it is possible to learn through somebody else’s mistakes. And on the other – borrow the best practices of the neighboring regions”, pointed out Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsyganov.
FAS has been collecting and analyzing regional practices in the field of competition since 2012 under the frame of the Road Map for “Developing Competition and Improving the Antimonopoly Policy” and publishing them in the “Black and White Books” of pro- and anticompetitive regional practices.
As one of the examples from 2016 “White Book”, Andrey Tsyganov mentioned the response of St Petersburg Property Relations Committee to a FAS warning.
On 20.10.2016 St Petersburg OFAS issued a warning to the Chairman of St Petersburg Property Relations Committee due to his public statement on the expected actions that can lead to violating the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition”.
The public official reported in an Internet-newspaper that to support and develop the sector of hostels and mini-hotels, St Petersburg Property Relations Committee is prepared to allow their owners to get state non-residential property without competitive bidding because if a draft law prohibiting hostels in residential houses is adopted, the market in question will be threatened. Support will be granted only to experienced market players (the criteria based on which an economic entity may be considered “an experience player” were not clarified).
Providing state non-residential property without competitive bidding only to experienced players on the market of hotel services would result in creating discriminatory conditions for access to St Petersburg state property.
St Petersburg Property Relations Committee took notice of the warning and did not perform the intended actions.
Talking about the “Black Book”, Andrey Tsyganov stated that in some cases the authorities and their officials have a non-constructive position, not reacting to FAS warnings and they fail to execute injunctions issued by the antimonopoly body.
“In such cases it still will be possible to restore justice, eliminate competition restrictions but only after lengthy judicial procedures”, pointed out Andrey Tsyganov.
Deputy Head of FAS emphasized that after introducing the practice of warnings in 2016 (earlier it was applied only to economic entities), a trend is emerging towards reducing the number of cases opened and investigated by FAS. In 2015 FAS opened and investigated more than 3 500 cases against the authorities, and in 2016 the figure went down to around 1300.
“We observe a nearly three-fold drop in the number of cases, the main reason for which is a transition to the system of warnings. Understanding the danger of adverse consequences (financial and reputational), officials react quickly and correct violations of the antimonopoly law within the timeframe set by FAS. Under the “forth antimonopoly package”, disqualification is a non-alternative administrative sanction for officials of the authorities that repeatedly violated the antimonopoly law”, stated Andrey Tsyganov.